My hands are cold this morning.
They often are – around the clock in fact,
a compromised circulation keeping
the extremities a good ways from the central
fire. Eric Clapton’s nickname is Slowhand.
That is a cool nickname to have.
Not exactly a Paganini-worthy moniker,
but then again cool took a while to catch on.
Cold, on the other hand (or on both hands),
will never become de rigueur. The notes
I touch on the guitar ring out
with a frightening lack of conviction.
The woman I touched rang out
with absolute conviction: Go take a hot
shower! before she took the electric blanket
and left. Anyway, that’s not enough.
And neither are three straight espressos
and a bowl of Cheerios. The pen I wield
over this pristine snowfield of paper
hasn’t even the will to carve out
bone-chilling stories of foot-numb French
soldiers retreating from Napoleon’s ruinous
campaign in Russia. So I get down on the floor
and do fifty push-ups. Then a pile
of aching sit-ups. Real strenuous motion
being the only thing that preserves life.
If I were a yoga master, I’d just sit on a blanket
and command red legions to course through
the trenches of my veins and conquer
the archipelagos of fingers, send a host
of hormonal backups to targeted outposts
in the brain – all in the name of the crown’s
beloved homeland: the frantic beating heart.
They say that music and poetry should lift
the soul. So I watch Slowhand in concert
at the Royal Albert Hall, on video,
and at some point I do feel a tingling
down my spine – and lo, all the way
to the distant tips of my beleaguered

Francis Fernandes is an emerging writer, with pieces appearing or forthcoming in The Zodiac Review, Amethyst Review, Beyond Words, What Rough Beast, Poems in the Afterglow, Third Wednesday, Poetry Potion, Montréal Writes, Bywords, Enclave (Final Poems), Entropy (Variations on a Theme), Pace Magazine and Modern Poetry Quarterly Review among others.